View Full Version : 6 months into Art Journaling, enjoying the process - how long have you been at it?

01-13-2013, 10:47 PM
Thought I would start a thread about our experiences with the art journaling process, especially if one is new to it or doing it in a different way than ever before.

I started my first complete Art Journal last summer. I've done artistic journaling, mixed media, and had sketchbooks at various times - this is just bringing it together in a purposeful way. It's a first attempt and I'm letting myself run wild with it and using an old workbook that I expanded the spine of. I'm skipping around and working on all the pages, some more than others. Some of them are getting closer to completion and I'll start a thread to post pix when ready.

A little backstory - as I said, I've done "components" of this thing called Art Journaling at various times in my life. This one is a little different - it's more lighthearted and focused on visual imagery. I have done similar types of art that were more dark, "emo," whatever you might say, but the forces driving those are history.

This new art journal is less personal in that way - it's more of a straight visual celebration, a liberation, a mad whimsical crazy blast. In short, I'm having fun with it!:clap:And it's a little about the process of making an art journal, so that when I share it with others including non-artistic types, they might get a little idea why a person might want to make an art journal, even if they themselves might not actually make one.

So, what kind(s) of art journals are you making or have you made in the past? Are your journals personal or art for art's sake or some blend of these?

Also share any cool materials you enjoy using in your art journal. One thing I'm doing is using up some older art supplies - but I've purchased something here and there specifically for this journal. One thing I really like is "swirl" colored pencils and crayons. They give a nice blended color, distressed look.

I like gel pens too, but have trouble finding ones that keep working. Gelly Rolls have been the best. They're good on dark backgrounds.

01-14-2013, 02:20 PM
So glad you are enjoying your process and your journey. I have not made an art journal as such. My journals/sketchbooks are either practice drawings or checking out materials, or most likely a design notebook. I do a lot of fiber art and tend to work out projects in my book or just quickly note a new ideas. It's not a conscious decision, it just sort of happened that my journal/sketchbooks became a conglomeration of these things. *shrug* It's what works for me. I doubt any one would like to see patterns and dimensions for clothing or stuffed animals or embroidered boxes. So, I haven't shared much out of my book.

All that being said, I enjoy having my blank books to record these things. They are an inspiration when I run dry and a place to keep my notes and working things out on paper first.

I look forward to seeing your art journal when you are ready to share. I think it'll be great. I love looking at what other people do with art journals, visual journals, artist's journals, or sketchbooks.

01-15-2013, 07:17 AM
Mine are sketchbooks but have been important to me for years. I don't do journals.

I have a lot of books on the go at once. Finishing them fast or not is an irrelevance to me. They are different sizes and shapes, different papers.

Some are related to topics, like a favourite Canson hardback watercolour book that I only use in Cornwall when I visit, to keep those sketches together. A recent lush stillman and birn has just been designated as one for urban sketches, which I decided to add to the local landscape project.

Others are related to a long project on local scenery.

Others are more random and anything goes.

I use mine for lightning sketches, more finished pieces, materials and colour tryouts, anything. Also scribbled notes, lists, artists quotes, fragments of poetry, things I want to record so they aren't lost ... Or simply sketches done to while away time in hospital waiting rooms etc

Some things lead quickly to larger paintings but others may do so much later ... Or never. They are just something in their own right.

01-15-2013, 09:35 AM
I started art journaling around two years ago. I never been good at keeping sketchbooks or even do much sketching, but I wanted to, I just had to find the right way that would work for me. When I discovered that putting everything together in one book worked for me: sketches, poems, personal writing, ideas for painting, experiments and the small whats not laying around in my studio, there was no way back anymore :) Instead of not knowing what to do with my ideas, when I have them all gathered together in one place, I get inspired from them!

01-15-2013, 10:25 AM
Mine are also more like sketchbooks than journals. I started keeping a sketchbook about 15 years ago on camping trips, and have sketched in them on and off (sometimes a lot more off than on). I've also started several theme sketchbooks, including travel journals, flower/garden journals, Sketchcrawl journals, and a few journals specifically for an online journal class. A lot of these books are incomplete, so my plan for this year is to use them all up before tackling any new ones. I don't think sticking to the theme is as important as sketching often, whatever subject matter calls to me at the moment. At times, like when I took the Strathmore online journal class with Roz Stendahl, I did make more of an effort to produce "art journal" pages instead of merely sketches.

01-15-2013, 11:03 AM
I've been doing art journaling since I started doing art in mid-2008, but I also would say it's more sketchbooks than pure journals...though I do indicate the date on each page, and often include notes or thoughts as well. I've kept other journals over the years, but they tend to be disorganized and this has carried over to my art sketchbooks/journals. Meaning, I've started journals by topic, or medium, but then wound up working in multiple journals anyway because of size, type of paper, etc. One time I started a year thinking I would keep one specific journal for the majority of my work so it was organized by date - but again quickly I found reasons to have to use other sizes or paper types, etc.

So now, I pretty much have multiple sketchbooks going at any one time, some (theoretically) with themes, some just handy in one place or another so when the sketch bug hits, I have something handy. When I finish a sketchbook, it's gets stored on a 'finished' shelf, so at least I have a fighting chance of finding something if I ever need to, but if any historian ever wanted to catalog my 'career' (right...! :rolleyes: ) they would have their work cut out to sort things out in chronological order.

01-15-2013, 12:40 PM
I took a drawing class nearly 30 years ago, but then didn't draw.
I started again last October and since November 22 (Thanksgiving) I have been doing a drawing or sketch everyday.
I plan to start doing some journals with themes as soon as I fill up my first practice sketchbook.

01-15-2013, 01:07 PM

I'd always considered that I could not draw until 2008 when I decided that I wanted to learn to do so in order to be able to create drawings and paintings of my beloved dogs. When I decided to teach myself, I began by getting the book Drawing for Dummies and a 9x12 Strathmore sketchbook and just practicing. I've had sketchbooks ever since then.

I use my sketchbook for exploring and testing media, for learning new techniques, and basic practice of all types. Sometimes I add words about the media used, the event depicted, or even just a quote that inspired me. I date each page.

Its interesting to think about what is the difference between what we term as an art journal (or artist's journal or visual journal - have heard all those names) and a sketchbook (or artist's sketchbook).

What makes an artist's sketchbook an artist's journal? Is it the addition of words and page layout? A theme? Does it have to be very personal? Include a narrative flow? Or can the words be quotes and ideas and observations? Debby, perhaps that would be an interesting thread?

01-15-2013, 01:31 PM
I started drawing and painting in 2009. Since then I filled a lot of sketchbooks, in most of them I used graphit pencils, they are filled with nothing but landscapes. I added no words, no date.
On new years day I decided to start an "art journal", quite different from my sketchbooks. I use watercolors, try to layout the pages and add words. Like an illustrated diary/journal. This is so much fun and everyday my children look at the book if there is something new inside.
Maybe when my first art journal is complete, I will do one with a theme, maybe "trees" or "our garden" or "our dogs". We will see...

01-15-2013, 01:33 PM
It's a very blurred boundary! I do all that Jenny does but she calls hers a journal, I call mine a sketchbook :)

The only rule is that there are no rules :)

The important thing is to be true to yourself, use the books as you want a let someone else worry about definitions. ;)

01-15-2013, 05:37 PM
Here, here! Indeed, I think that the artist/author can call their sketchbook/journal or ? whatever you feel comfortable with. I think each of us has a different take on or definition of each of the terms used. Some use them interchangably. Others have more rigid definitions. I think, as Vivien said, the boundries are blurred. Call it whatever you like, utilize your book (and I even use that term loosely) how you want as an artist.

01-16-2013, 09:48 AM
So, what kind(s) of art journals are you making or have you made in the past? Are your journals personal or art for art's sake or some blend of these?
My mother was an artist, so I have been drawing and sketching and doodling and messing around in art all my life, including a degree in design, way back in the day. (Waaay back.) I started making "art journals" when I began taking solo springtime month-long across-the-USA road trips in the VW camper about fifteen years ago. The journals were daily logs of my travels, what I saw and felt and thought, and were great fun to make. About that time I also began to keep a sketchbook with me on a daily basis, outside of my travels, and I try to work a bit in it each and every day.

The journals are "personal" but not autobiographical screeds or outpourings of angst. There is very little writing in them, actually. They are mostly records of my daily observations of my fellow man.

Also share any cool materials you enjoy using in your art journal.
For a discussion of cool materials we enjoy using, see this on-going thread (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=930276).


01-16-2013, 11:15 PM
Wow, such an amazing diversity of replies! :) I think when trying to define what my "art journal" is, you all have made me stop and think about the word "journal" in the context of what I'm doing.

"Jour" in French = "Day" in English - Diary, Diurnal, etc. Actually I'm not doing a day-by-day or other chronological process. I'm flipping around all over the book just adding color, ephemera bits, words, whatever strikes my fancy. So I guess maybe "a book full of altered art" might be more accurate!

Now I have kept the kinds of sketchbooks for working on ideas, or doing quick pieces, all of that. One drawing teacher I had encouraged us to use the sketchbook every day. I haven't always, but have gone through times of using it quite frequently - sometimes more than a page a day.

I did a lot of sketching while my late mother went through various hospital stays - when she was sleeping for instance. It helped me pass the time and was therapeutic and relaxing. I still plan to use that type of sketchbook process to work on art pieces or plans for bigger pieces.

This "altered" thing is just a fun hybrid between sketching, scrapbooking, doodling, what have you. It helps me loosen up and be playful, and I'm having a lot of fun with it. :D

01-19-2013, 10:55 PM

01-19-2013, 10:58 PM
I will try to get a better picture soon - just took this one on an impulse. This is the front cover of my art journal. It's rather tongue-in-cheek self-referential to start out: "This is an art journal, etc. blah blah blah . . . " for a few pages but hopefully I'll get rolling and it will become more interesting as it goes. :wink2:

01-20-2013, 04:27 PM
Cute cover.

01-23-2013, 10:57 AM
Thanks, DrDebby! :wave: I will embellish it more and also the back, which doesn't have much on it yet, and then I want to seal them with acrylic medium or at least slip a cellophane cover over so that while I'm working on the inner pages I'm not constantly wearing the cover, which has happened a little. But I can just call it "distressed," right? :lol: Of course I can!